On my 25th birthday this year, I officially became too old to submit to Voiceworks. Though I’d heard of the publication and know several people who’d had their work published in its pages, this edition was the first copy of the magazine I’d ever read. I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t get on this train when I was still eligible to be involved.
Voiceworks itself is also 25 years old. This year, Express Media – the young writers’ company that publishes Voiceworks – lost its organisational funding from the federal government. I’m against cuts to the arts and to youth services in general; now, in reading the 105th issue of this astoundingly good literary journal, I’m truly feeling the travesty of this particular cut-back.
Voiceworks #105 – entitled 'Nerve' – does a beautiful thing. It legitimises and makes public the lives and concerns of young citizens. Through the prose, poetry and illustrations in this volume, we see a snapshot of our country today through the eyes of those who both inhabit and inherit it. There is much here that is directly relevant to readers of any age. Phoebe Paterson de Heer’s personal essay on cycling culture in Australia is something I’d like some of our local and state policy developers to read, and Jen Hauptman’s investigation into wind turbines and the backlash they’ve caused, Tilting at Turbines, gives great insight into the present and potential futures of this particular branch of renewables. But just as important and captivating as these topical pieces is the perspective on young peoples’ experiences of the present moment afforded by each and every piece in the publication.
Jon DiNapoli’s weird And Out and Out takes pre-apocalyptic themes to a disturbing new place. Adalya Nash Hussein’s account of growing up with/being shaped by her mother’s disability is incredibly well crafted. I had a chuckle at Chris Gooch’s comic Buddy, and got chills from Emma Jensen’s Tip 10: Count to 7 Slowly. Kirsty Sier’s How to Occupy an Empty Tuesday is quietly thrilling. The poetry is strong too – stand-outs include Emma Rose Smith and Winnie Dunn, but also include every other writer in the anthology. I wish I could list every contributor in my review, for there was barely a dull moment in the whole 127 page publication.
If you haven’t ever checked out an edition of Voiceworks, get to a bookstore and get yourself a copy. It’s an insightful, beautifully crafted volume, and inspires enormous confidence in the future of Australian writing.
Voiceworks #106: "Nerve"
Published by Express Media